SPECIAL FEATURE

Hello … and goodbye

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That could well described the Philippine’s campaign in the 8th Far Eastern Games (FEG) held August 28-31 in Shanghai.

It was in this, the last time the competition was staged from its traditional biennial setting to quadrennial basis held in even years between the Olympic Games, when the national contingent unfurled the nation’s future Olympians in lieu of the faded stars responsible for its athletes winning four general championships eight times from 1913.

Leading the Filipinos’ were swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, a breast­stroker par excellence who would become the only athlete from this shore who would hand the country back-to-back Olympic medals in the “Greatest Sports Show on Earth,” high jumper Simeon Toribio and sprinter David Nepomuceno.

Yldefonso and Toribio, of course, spearheaded the Filipinos’ three-Olympic bronze medal harvest in the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, the finest showing of the Philippines as of date.


Simeon Toribio jumping for the gold medal. PHOTO FROM EDDIE ALINEA’S FILE

Nepomuceno had just emerged the first Filipino to compete in the Olympics, an honor he did four years prior to the 8th Shanghai FEG.

Other noted Olympians in the 1927 FEG line up were dasher Ansemo Gonzaga, swimmer Jakarta Angkang and basketball player Franco Marquicias.

With Yldefonso and Angkang lording it over in the pool, the Philippines took home six gold medals to regain it supremacy in swimming since losing the title to the Japanese in 1921. Angkag had a double-gold performance, while Mangona Ukla shared the limelight with three.

For only the second time since he Games’ inaugurals in 1913, the Filipino tracksters were dethroned as athletics kingpins despite their eight gold-medal haul centered on Nepomu­ceno’s first place victories in the 100 meters and 800-meter relay in a team up with Constantino Alambra, Serafin Estrada and Gonzaga.

PH’s other golds came courtesy of Isabelo Castillejos in he 400 meters, Gonzaga in the 200 meters, Gene­roso Rabaya in the 110 hurdles, Arturo Roa in shot put and the 1,600 relay.

Marquicias provided the muscle and Mariano Filomeno and Augusto Bautista the scoring as the National Five cruised to its eighth crown conquest. Volleyball failed in its bid for as fourth title, while football, likewise, was frustrated in repeating its 1933 triumph.

Women athletes appeared at the games for the first time. A demonstration volleyball match was held by an Eastern Chinese women’s team. However, their appearance generated a negative reaction from the audience, which insulted and shouted their lackluster performance. The match was curtailed before the allotted time as a result.

The football match between China and the Philippines caused further disruption as the two teams began brawling and the audience threw objects onto the pitch – some leaving the stands to join the melee.

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